Bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) and related compounds have recently attracted strong interest, owing to the discovery of the topological insulator properties in many members of this family of materials. The few-quintuple films of these materials are particularly interesting from the physics point of view. We report results of the micro-Raman spectroscopy study of the “graphene-like” exfoliated few-quintuple layers of Bi2Te3, Bi2Se3, and Sb2Te3. It is found that crystal symmetry breaking in few-quintuple films results in appearance of A1u-symmetry Raman peaks, which are not active in the bulk crystals. The scattering spectra measured under the 633-nm wavelength excitation reveals a number of resonant features, which could be used for analysis of the electronic and phonon processes in these materials. In order to elucidate the influence of substrates on the few-quintuple-thick topological insulators, we examined the Raman spectra of these films placed on mica, sapphire, and hafnium-oxide substrates. The obtained results help to understand the physical mechanisms of Raman scattering in the few-quintuple-thick films and can be used for nanometrology of topological insulator films on various substrates.

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